Los Angeles Lakers: Welcome Back, Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant Mike D'Antoni

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

April 12, 2013 marked a changing point in the future of the Los Angeles Lakers, as their super star shooting guard Kobe Bryant went down with a ruptured Achilles tendon against the Golden State Warriors.

Tonight marks the beginning of the Lakers’ future, as Mamba retakes the court for the first time since the injury in tonight’s game against the Toronto Raptors. It has officially been 240 days since the injury happened, and tonight, the Black Mamba will retake the hardwood in Staples Center in front of the Lakers’ hometown crowd, on a minutes restriction of course. Bryant is likely to play between 20 and 30 minutes tonight, as Lakers head Coach Mike D’Antoni has already stated that the trainers will pay close attention to Bryant and monitor his status throughout the game. Any small tweak or setback and Bryant will find himself back resting on the bench until Tuesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns.

It has yet to be seen if Bryant will be able to return to his original form, as his explosiveness may suffer setbacks due to the injury, but regardless, he will be bringing 110 percent to the floor night after night. With the amount of injuries the Lakers have suffered at the point guard position, Bryant will be spending plenty of time as a facilitator and playmaker in his initial return, and will likely see plenty of minutes at the point guard position as well.

The Lakers have been surprisingly successful to begin the season, and have managed to get off to an over .500 record, currently sitting at 10-9, and any thought of them “tanking” out this season have quickly gone to the wayside.

It’s been more than 48 hours since I have taken off my No. 8 Kobe Bryant jersey, and as any Lakers fan clearly knows today, it is fantastic feeling to have the Mamba back.

Be sure to follow Ian Meredith on Twitter @Cui2iousGeoi2ge

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